Niwot Ridge Resources

A Source of Information for Mission Critical Systems, Management Processes, and Strategies

Personally Recommended Books

These are books that I've recently finished and would recommend to others. Many are science history books which have limited interest. But others are more general.

Absolute Friends, John Le Carre

Another fine Le Carre book to add to the collections

FlyBoys, James Bradley.

Bradley's first book Flags of our Fathers was a wonderful read, this should be the same. This is a true story involving World War II naval aviation and George H, Bush.

This was a very difficult book to finish. Not because of the quality but because of the very graphic depictions of the events of WWII and the experiences of the flyers.

I recommend this to anyone who is genuinely interested in the events of WWII from both sides.

Origins of Existence, Fred Adams.

This is a very readable book on the basic concepts in modern cosmology. Coupled with the Mat edition of Scientific American article "The Myth of the Beginning of Time" and the supporting papers, this book should be read by anyone interested in the scientific origins of life in the universe.

E=MC2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation, David Bodanis.

This is a fascinating history of Einstein's simple equation that changed to world for better and worse. This book is a tour of the equation as well as the people involved from Newton to modern nuclear weapons.

it's a east read for those interested in the physics and history of the atomic age.

Tuxedo Park, is a story about Alfred Loomis who funded much of the research into radar and the early atomic bomb processes. This is new information, since he "secret" was locked up by the family until recently.

Heisenberg's War, conjectures that the failure of the German's in WWII to produce the bomb was a combination of lack of skill, lack of resources, and Heisenberg's deliberate diversion

Under the Banner of Heaven, John Krakauer.

This is Krakauer's 3rd book with Into the Wild and Into Thin Air the other two. This is his best so far. It's the story of a double murder committed by Ron and Dan Lafferty  who insist they received a revelation from God that told them to kill their sister in law.

Principia Mathematics to *56, ia Whitehead and Russell's abridged version of the most seminal work in the theory of mathematics Brotherhood of the Bomb, is a story about Oppenheimer, Lawrence, and Teller and their quest for control of the nuclear weapons plans for the US

Seabiscuit, the movie of course is starting everyone thinking about the horse. The book came before the movie and is worth the read even if you've seen the movie. Much more detail and charter development are int he book. For those who have not seen the movie, it's a must see as well.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies make the Leap and Other's Don't, Jim Collins, Harper Collins, 2001.

This is a description of the attributes of companies that have moved from "good to great." Many business book as well as project management or other business process books are written from the point of view of the author - how the reader should apply a specific process for improvement. Collins' approach is the inverse. He and his team researched what attributes were present when firms moved from good to great, then categorized these and surveyed the results. Anyone asking the question, "how can we improve?" must read this book.

Enigma: The Battle for the Code, Hugh Sebag–Montefiore, John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

The primary theme here was that the cracking of the Enigma code was much harder than popularly portrayed. Details of how the machines worked, all the accompanying paper based systems and supporting hardware is very good reading. The focus is on the Naval Codes, so much of the US and Army decoding described in other works is skipper.


Franklin, Walter Isaacson.

This is a modern biography of Franklin. I'm not really a biography reader but this book is enjoyable as well as informative. So much of our culture comes from Franklin that any one interested in modern thought process needs to talk a cut at this fairly large book.


This is the story of Philip Hanssen, who sold secrets to the Russians - not for money or for politics, but because it gave him a sense of power he never had as a child. Although much of the book is focused on Louie Freeze (sic) it does give some new background on Hansen. This is an easy read, and will probably produce more questions than answers, since it is never explained why the FBI did not follow up and several clear signals that Hansen was a spy. The headlines of todays papers indicate that the FBI is continuing to behave in the same way.

The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown.

This is a "church" murder mystery, with lots of controversy for Catholics. It is a fabulous read for those not grounded in Church teachings and the history of the early catholic Church.

Remember though this is "fiction" based on the controversy of what DaVinci supposedly painted in the "Last Supper." No matter it is a good "tale" in the best sense of the word.

I'm not much for psychology books, but Phillip McGraw has a down to earth approach to some important life matters. He was interviewed on NPR and had a brief segment on PBS discussing his approach to "people matters." He's got the Texas down home approach to issues.

This is a typical Ambrose book. It is also about George McGovern and his experiences in Italy. Much has been written about this book, how it doesn't properly portray the B-24 community, how it paints a distorted picture of the air combat over Italy.

I found the book interesting reading, since the B-24 was a much more difficult aircraft to fly than the B-17. This book like Andy Ronney's My War is a personal account rather than an official account. as such it has flaws - like real people do.

Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, Lee Smolin, Basic Books, 2001.

This is a book about the fundamental questions of the universe. It addresses the three basic approaches to answering the question what is the universe?


"The father of History", as Cicero called him, and a writer possessed of remarkable narrative gifts, enormous scope, and considerable charm, Herodotus has always been beloved by readers well-versed in the classics. Compelled by his desire to "prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time", Herodotus recounts the incidents preceding and following the Persian Wars. He gives us much more than military history, though, providing the fullest portrait of the classical world of the 5th and 6th centuries.

I have a 1888 version of Book 2, Egypt. Although difficult going in olde English, it is a great diversion from all the "Techie" books required for work.

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